2013 ORS § 656.726¹
Duties and powers to carry out workers compensation and occupational safety laws
  • rules

(1) The Workers Compensation Board in its name and the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services in the directors name as director may sue and be sued, and each shall have a seal.

(2) The board hereby is charged with reviewing appealed orders of Administrative Law Judges in controversies concerning a claim arising under this chapter, exercising own motion jurisdiction under this chapter and providing such policy advice as the director may request, and providing such other review functions as may be prescribed by law. To that end any of its members or assistants authorized thereto by the members shall have power to:

(a) Hold sessions at any place within the state.

(b) Administer oaths.

(c) Issue and serve by the boards representatives, or by any sheriff, subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, contracts, books, accounts, documents and testimony before any hearing under ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by home health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter.

(d) Generally provide for the taking of testimony and for the recording of proceedings.

(3) The board chairperson is hereby charged with the administration of and responsibility for the Hearings Division.

(4) The director hereby is charged with duties of administration, regulation and enforcement of ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by home health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter. To that end the director may:

(a) Make and declare all rules and issue orders which are reasonably required in the performance of the directors duties. Unless otherwise specified by law, all reports, claims or other documents shall be deemed timely provided to the director or board if mailed by regular mail or delivered within the time required by law. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the director may adopt rules to allow for the electronic transmission and filing of reports, claims or other documents required to be filed under this chapter and to require the electronic transmission and filing of proof of coverage required under ORS 656.419 (Workers compensation insurance contracts), 656.423 (Cancellation of coverage by employer) and 656.427 (Termination of workers compensation insurance contract or surety bond liability by insurer). Notwithstanding ORS 183.310 (Definitions for chapter) to 183.410 (Agency determination of applicability of rule or statute to petitioner), if a matter comes before the director that is not addressed by rule and the director finds that adoption of a rule to accommodate the matter would be inefficient, unreasonable or unnecessarily burdensome to the public, the director may resolve the matter by issuing an order, subject to review under ORS 656.704 (Actions and orders regarding matters concerning claim and matters other than matters concerning claim). Such order shall not have precedential effect as to any other situation.

(b) Hold sessions at any place within the state.

(c) Administer oaths.

(d) Issue and serve by representatives of the director, or by any sheriff, subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, contracts, books, accounts, documents and testimony in any inquiry, investigation, proceeding or rulemaking hearing conducted by the director or the directors representatives. The director may require the attendance and testimony of employers, their officers and representatives in any inquiry under this chapter, and the production by employers of books, records, papers and documents without the payment or tender of witness fees on account of such attendance.

(e) Generally provide for the taking of testimony and for the recording of such proceedings.

(f) Provide standards for the evaluation of disabilities. The following provisions apply to the standards:

(A) The criterion for evaluation of permanent impairment under ORS 656.214 (Permanent partial disability) is the loss of use or function of a body part or system due to the compensable industrial injury or occupational disease. Permanent impairment is expressed as a percentage of the whole person. The impairment value may not exceed 100 percent of the whole person.

(B) Impairment is established by a preponderance of medical evidence based upon objective findings.

(C) The criterion for evaluation of work disability under ORS 656.214 (Permanent partial disability) is permanent impairment as modified by the factors of age, education and adaptability to perform a given job.

(D) When, upon reconsideration of a notice of closure pursuant to ORS 656.268 (Claim closure), it is found that the workers disability is not addressed by the standards adopted pursuant to this paragraph, notwithstanding ORS 656.268 (Claim closure), the director shall, in the order on reconsideration, determine the extent of permanent disability that addresses the workers impairment.

(E) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, only impairment benefits shall be awarded under ORS 656.214 (Permanent partial disability) if the worker has been released to regular work by the attending physician or nurse practitioner authorized to provide compensable medical services under ORS 656.245 (Medical services to be provided) or has returned to regular work at the job held at the time of injury.

(g) Prescribe procedural rules for and conduct hearings, investigations and other proceedings pursuant to ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by home health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter regarding all matters other than those specifically allocated to the board or the Hearings Division.

(h) Participate fully in any proceeding before the Hearings Division, board or Court of Appeals in which the director determines that the proceeding involves a matter that affects or could affect the discharge of the directors duties of administration, regulation and enforcement of ORS 654.001 (Short title) to 654.295 (Application of Oregon Safe Employment Act), 654.412 (Definitions for ORS 654.412 to 654.423) to 654.423 (Use of physical force by home health care employee in self-defense against assault), 654.750 (Definitions for ORS 654.750 to 654.780) to 654.780 (Providing basic information to employees) and this chapter.

(5)(a) The board may make and declare all rules which are reasonably required in the performance of its duties, including but not limited to rules of practice and procedure in connection with hearing and review proceedings and exercising its authority under ORS 656.278 (Board has continuing authority to alter earlier action on claim). The board shall adopt standards governing the format and timing of the evidence. The standards shall be uniformly followed by all Administrative Law Judges and practitioners. The rules may provide for informal prehearing conferences in order to expedite claim adjudication, amicably dispose of controversies, if possible, narrow issues and simplify the method of proof at hearings. The rules shall specify who may appear with parties at prehearing conferences and hearings.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the board may adopt rules to allow for the electronic transmission of filings, reports, notices and other documents required to be filed under the boards authority.

(6) The director and the board chairperson may incur such expenses as they respectively determine are reasonably necessary to perform their authorized functions.

(7) The director, the board chairperson and the State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation shall have the right, not subject to review, to contract for the exchange of, or payment for, such services between them as will reduce the overall cost of administering this chapter.

(8) The director shall have lien and enforcement powers regarding assessments to be paid by subject employers in the same manner and to the same extent as is provided for lien and enforcement of collection of premiums and assessments by the corporation under ORS 656.552 (Deposit of cash, bond or letter of credit to secure payment of employers premiums) to 656.566 (Lien on property of employer for amounts due).

(9) The director shall have the same powers regarding inspection of books, records and payrolls of employers as are granted the corporation under ORS 656.758 (Inspection of books, records and payrolls). The director may disclose information obtained from such inspections to the Director of the Department of Revenue to the extent the Director of the Department of Revenue requires such information to determine that a person complies with the revenue and tax laws of this state and to the Director of the Employment Department to the extent the Director of the Employment Department requires such information to determine that a person complies with ORS chapter 657.

(10) The director shall collect hours-worked data information in addition to total payroll for workers engaged in various jobs in the construction industry classifications described in the job classification portion of the Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Manual and the Oregon Special Rules Section published by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The information shall be collected in the form and format necessary for the National Council on Compensation Insurance to analyze premium equity. [Formerly 656.410; 1977 c.804 §30; 1979 c.677 §2; 1979 c.839 §20; 1981 c.535 §45; 1981 c.723 §5; 1981 c.854 §49a; 1981 c.876 §9; 1985 c.600 §16; 1985 c.706 §4; 1985 c.770 §4; 1987 c.884 §2; 1990 c.2 §40; 1995 c.332 §55; amendments by 1995 c.332 §55a repealed by 1999 c.6 §1; 1999 c.313 §10; 1999 c.876 §9; 2003 c.170 §7; 2003 c.171 §1; 2003 c.657 §§3,4; 2003 c.811 §§17,18; 2005 c.26 §§16,17; 2005 c.653 §§1,2a; 2007 c.241 §§4,5; 2007 c.270 §§7,8; 2007 c.274 §2; 2013 c.162 §1]

Note: See notes under 656.202 (Compensation payable to subject worker in accordance with law in effect at time of injury).